Thursday, November 23, 2006

Short Shifts

JFJ's New Deal
I'm happy that JFJ's extension gives him one less thing to worry about. While I don't think he's the best man for the job, as a Leaf fan I wish him nothing but success. Huge Sucess. Drought-breaking, miracle making, smile inducing, career defining success.

The Tipping Point for Tucker
When I look at at how many teams are backed up right against the cap, I can only conclude that many GMs are still sorting out the best way to deal with the CBA. I think in seasons ahead we'll see many GMs move away from maxing-out at the cap, giving them a bit more flexibility to add parts as needed (Tom Benjamin has an interesting post on that topic here).

To that end, I'm wondering if the Leafs might be feeling a bit of a pinch if the salary cap doesn't go up again next year. Dave Johnson at Hockey Analysis thinks Tucker may have to go in order to balance the books...I can't see JFJ having the cojones to pull that interesting to see how this one plays out. Certainly as Tucker approaches/exceeds the $4M barrier, the amount of cap space remaining for JFJ gets critically smaller...which leads me to the next blurb...

Leaf RFAs and Compensation
I know it's like game 23 or something and all of this is very far off, but the impact of RFA contract demands could be crucial for the Leafs next year, especially vis-a-vis Tucker's future with the club.

Here's a quick RFA refresher from the CBA (section 10.2.B.ii):

In order to receive a Right of First Refusal or Draft Choice Compensation...the Prior Club of a Restricted Free Agent must tender to the Player...a "Qualifying Offer"...on at least the following terms and conditions:
If the RFA's earnings are $660,000 or less, he must be given a qualifying offer at 110% of the current salary (a 10% raise). This applies to White, Wozniewski, Harrison, Tvellquist and Bell.

Players earning $660,001 to $1M, must be given a qualifying offer at 105% of their current salary. This applies to Colaiacovo, Kronwall, Ponikarovsky, Suglabov.

Antropov is the only RFA on the Leafs earning more than $1M - RFAs earning in excess of $1M can be qualified at their current salary.

Now keep in mind that 5 to 10% raise doesn't get the player signed, it just guarantees that the Leafs receive compensation if another team (hello Philadelphia!) does offer a contract to a RFA and the Leafs do not match that offer. In the event that does occur, the Leafs would be eligible for the following compensation:

Under $660,000 None
Over $660,000 to $1 Million Third Round Pick
$1 Million to $2 Million Second Round Pick
$2 Million to $3 Million First and Third Round Picks
$3 Million to $4 Million First, Second and Third Round Picks
$4 Million to $5 Million Two First Round Picks, a Second and a Third Round Pick
Over $5 Million

Four First Round Picks

If I'm another GM, I'd gladly double Ponikarovski's salary, tender him an offer sheet at $1.5M and lose a second round pick as compensation. Hell, offer White $900K if you've got the cap space and you get White and Poni on your team for $2.4M and a second and third round pick. A solid move if you're an eastern division rival and JFJ has limited cap space after signing Tucker at $4M...


  1. Anonymous12:34 am

    Remember that there are other ways around the cap if JFJ or any GM gets into a jam. Just ask Lou Lamoriello. Certainly letting Ponikarovsky or White go for next to nothing isn't one of those options. He would certainly match and then trade his way out of the problem. But what it does do is push salaries up quicker. In the old NHL there is no way Jason Spezza would be able to command $4.5 million but that is what he can command in the new NHL because if the Senators didn't allocate that amount to Spezza, someone else would and you would be put in a jam. Same for Ponikarovsky. You can no longer expect to get RFA's for artificaly low salaries anymore. See Vancouver and Ryan Kesler as well.

  2. Anonymous1:55 pm

    Thanks Bitter. You just ensured I will have nightmares of all of the Leafs' young players being poached.

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